As a youth growing up in the inner-city of Washington, D.C., Archie Talley couldn't afford a baseball glove nor football cleats.
But if someone owned a basketball, it was certain Talley was nearby.
That was many moons ago. Long before he moved to West Virginia and attended Salem College where he earned his bachelor's degree in human relations and masters degree in education.
His professional playing career is littered with stops with the New York Knicks and New York Nets, as well as the Harlem Globetrotters. During his 10-year career in Europe, he scored 116 points in a single game.
In 1988, he was inducted into the West Virginia Sports Hall of Fame.
Now at the age of 59, Talley makes his mark as a motivational speaker and beginning Monday at the Parkersburg YMCA, he will be working with children in in kindergarten through sixth grade as part of the week-long YMCA Country Roads Basketball Camp.
"This camp is about fun and learning important lessons through basketball and life," Talley said.
During his stay, Talley will go out of his way to make individuals feel special. Either through an autograph, a conversation or a mere handshake.
"My role model never looked me in the eyes," Talley said. "The little things build self-esteem and makes them feel important.
"It doesn't matter what color they are, their gender or what part of the country they live in. I've been to places filthy rich and filthy poor - kids respond when they know you care about them and I've never had a problem getting that message across."
Talley's presentation will include entertainment such as the tricks he's learned as a member of the Globetrotters.
"The kids think the tricks I do is magic and I must be Santa Claus," Talley said.
Talley has a serious side when it comes to teaching the fundamentals of the game. He wants children to understand professional basketball players are extremely talented and among the world's best, but also keep in mind that some of them tend to get lazy when doing things the right way.
"If they remember the fundamentals, you will always get good results," Talley said.
Sort of like the baseball side of Talley, who learned to hit nothing but fastballs as a youth in Washington, D.C., but once he faced pitchers in the suburbs - forgot about it.
"I was a baseball player until guys threw me curve balls," Talley said.
There's a fondness for Talley and his return to Parkersburg. He remembers being an 18-year-old student at Salem and having the opportunity to speak in the Mid-Ohio Valley.
"Jay Carter asked me to speak - I never met him, but he sounded so professional," Talley said. "When I arrived, he promoted me like I was the president. There's something about Parkersburg that's stuck in my mind and I never forgot that.
"Where the Parkersburg YMCA is at, it's a nice area. It's like 'Leave it to Beaver' or 'Father Knows Best' area."
Contact Kerry Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org